Skip to comments.Four Myths About Living Together Without Marriage
Posted on 03/01/2006 7:09:06 AM PST by ZGuy
In the United States, living together instead of marrying has become the norm for couples -- half of young adults aged 20-40 are cohabiting instead of getting married. Cohabitation has increased nearly 1,000% since 1980, and the marriage rate has dropped more than 40% since 1960.
Some see substituting living together for marriage as an insignificant shift in family “structure.” Those who are better informed realize that the shift has disastrous ramifications for the individuals involved, as well as for society and public policy.
The faulty reasoning leading young adults to make such a poor choice must be exposed. Here are four myths surrounding the shift.
Myth No. 1: Living Together Is a Good Way to “Test the Water”
Many couples say that they want to live together to see if they are compatible, not realizing that cohabitation is more a preparation for divorce than a way to strengthen the likelihood of a successful marriage -- the divorce rates of women who cohabit are nearly 80% higher than those who do not. In fact, studies indicate that cohabiting couples have lower marital quality and increased risk of divorce. Further, cohabiting relationships tend to be fragile and relatively short in duration; less than half of cohabiting relationships last five or more years. Typically, they last about 18 months.
Myth No. 2: Couples Don’t Really Need That “Piece of Paper”
A major problem with cohabitation is that it is a tentative arrangement that lacks stability; no one can depend upon the relationship -- not the partners, not the children, not the community, nor the society. Such relationships contribute little to those inside and certainly little to those outside the arrangement. Sometimes couples choose to live together as a substitute for marriage, indicating that, in case the relationship goes sour, they can avoid the trouble, expense and emotional trauma of a divorce. With such a weak bond between the two parties, there is little likelihood that they will work through their problems or that they will maintain the relationship under pressure.
Myth No. 3: Cohabiting Relationships Usually Lead to Marriage
During the 1970s, about 60% of cohabiting couples married each other within three years, but this proportion has since declined to less than 40%. While women today still tend to expect that “cohabitation will lead to marriage,” numerous studies of college students have found that men typically cohabit simply because it is “convenient.” In fact, there is general agreement among scholars that living together before marriage puts women at a distinct disadvantage in terms of “power.” A college professor described a survey that he conducted over a period of years in his marriage classes. He asked guys who were living with a girl, point blank, “Are you going to marry the girl that you’re living with?” The overwhelming response, he reports, was “NO!” When he asked the girls if they were going to marry the guy they were living with, their response was, “Oh, yes; we love each other and we are learning how to be together.”
Myth No. 4: Cohabiting Relationships Are More Egalitarian Than Marriage
It is common knowledge that women and children suffer more poverty after a cohabiting relationship breaks up, but it’s not so well understood that there is typically an economic imbalance in favor of the man within such relationships, too. While couples who live together say that they plan to share expenses equally, more often than not the women support the men. Studies show that women typically contribute more than 70% of the income in a cohabiting relationship. Likewise, the women tend to do more of the cleaning, cooking and laundry. If they are students, as is often the case, and facing economic or time constraints that require a reduction in class load, it is almost invariably the woman, not the man, who drops a class.
So What’s the Conclusion?
A mass of sociological evidence shows that cohabitation is an inferior alternative to the married, intact, two-parent, husband-and-wife family. Increasingly, the myths of living together without marriage are like a mirror shattered by the force of the facts that expose the reality of cohabitation.
Dr. Crouse is senior fellow of Concerned Women for Americas Beverly LaHaye Institute.
Real reasons for living together out of marriage;
1) Woman can continue to collect alimony from previous husband.
2) Woman can collect State aid, medical and dental coverage for children.
3) If woman gets pregnant, can get State to pay for abortion if she wants it, or birth if she has it.
Its all about the nanny state taking care of unwed mothers. If she gets married, the couple is supposed to take responsibility for themselves. The system opposes marriage.
I don't disagree with the overall thrust of this article or with the last three points, but with regard to the first point that implies cohabiting makes divorce more likely I think that's bunk. What it reveals, in my view, is that the values of those who cohabit are already different from those who do not, and that these values predispose them to a greater likelihood of later divorce.
Why is everyone so eager to give up their individual single life PRIOR to getting married? I don't understand it.
Dont pay a fortunes for one day.
What really gets me, when smart articles like this come out, is the intellectual dishonesty of liberals that wraps the label "religious inspired intolerance" around any argument against the "liberal" things they try to defend. Even an atheist can read the study and conclude that "cohabitation" does not trump marriage, at any time in the "relationship".
only if she's lactating
Huh? You mean men actually think "I'm not getting married until I know my divorce settlement will be fair?" Talk about a defeatest attitude...Who the hell would want to marry that person?
Janice must not know any married men.
People are not, by nature, solitary beings.
Which, if they had married before moving in, would mean divorce. Kinda hurts that point.
The Law of Unintended Consequences rears it's ugly head again.
Not by nature, no.
But living with a woman
will make you that way . . .
The other thing they leave out is this: you get more jaded every time you do it. I hate to admit it, but I've shacked up with six different partners in my 40 years (definitely not proud of it.) And every time, leaving is easier. Eventually you just feel too calloused to ever really bond with anyone. I doubt I'll ever marry (again)... it's just something I bungled early in life and that's it. You don't start fresh every time. Some things are fragile, and they can be ruined.
Hmmmmmmmmm.........I guess I'm an anomoly. My husband and I celebrated our 9th Wedding Anniverary last week, we'll be together 18 years come June, and our child is only 7.
Boy, you're right on with your comments. Wonder why these didn't make it into the survey.
"But living with a woman
will make you that way . . ."
Maybe your woman. Not mine. I can't imagine life without here, after 14 years. Speak for yourself only.
Not entirely true. I have lived with my partner for over 16 years and I have friends who have lived with them just as long or longer. No problems - we just don't want to get married. Feelings are mutual about marriage on both sides. Most of my so-called married friends who had never lived with their partners before marriage are either divorced or are on that path. It depends on the relationship and the compatablity of the couple themselves.
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